What You Need to Know About Gray Divorces

What You Need to Know About Gray Divorces

Twenty years ago, it was common for couples to stay together for more than three decades. Despite difficulties and hardships, many married couples remained together. Whether it was because of religious upbringing, social stigmas, or practicality, the divorce rate in older couples was relatively low. That is changing in current times. Divorces that occur with individuals who are 50 years of age or older are considered “gray” divorces.

According to research conducted by Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin from Bowling Green State University, couples over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced now as they were in 1990. That roughly translates to one in four couples of all American divorces consist of individuals who are over 50, while one in 10 are over 65. Furthermore, 55% of the divorces include couples who have been together for 20 or more years.

This can mean your parents and grandparents are more likely to dissolve their marriage now than they would have in the past. Based on Brown and Lin’s research, there are multiple variables as to why this is. The leading factor is that women are more economically capable than they were before. More women are working and thriving, which allows them the choice of divorce, rather than staying in a marriage for financial reasons.

Another reason includes the cultural shift in the way society views divorce. In the past, divorce was considered a taboo topic. It was looked down upon to dissolve a marriage, particularly in religious circles. However, now with an average of 40 to 50% of American marriages ending in divorce, it is not so uncommon. Fewer people believe divorce is wrong.

Finally, with the expanding life expectancy, couples realize they may not want to spend another 10 years with their spouse. Couples sometimes realize that after they have raised their kids and are on their own again, they do not have much in common. Growing apart is not unusual and people find that it would be better for both parties if they simply end the marriage, rather than have to continue it for an indeterminate time.

No matter what age a couple decides to obtain a divorce, it is sad. However, for couples who have been together for 10 years or more, it can be a little more complicated. There is a shared history and accumulated assets that must be considered.

If you or your spouse are considering a gray divorce, there are some things you should take note of.

  1. Finances – California is a no-fault divorce state. This means that property and assets accrued during the marriage must be split evenly, including retirement funds. Also, if one spouse made significantly more than the other, alimony may need to be paid to maintain a quality of life.
  2. Caregiving – As we age, it can be difficult to take care of ourselves. It is important to decide who will take care of us when we’re older. You and your ex may have had a plan earlier during your marriage, but you may need to reconsider circumstances if you divorce. The dissolution of marriage may also affect your relationship with your children.
  3. Living Arrangements – You and your spouse will need to figure out your living arrangements after the divorce. Will one of you keep the house while the other moves out? Will you sell the house and split the money? These are important things to take into account.
  4. Shift in Family Dynamics – Divorce changes a lot of things, including how your family functions. Even if a couple has adult children who have their own families, it can be difficult to adjust to post-marriage life. You will need to figure out holidays, emotions, and your role in the family.

At Family Law Advocacy Group, we understand how difficult it is when a marriage ends, regardless of age. If you and your ex plan to dissolve your marriage, our San Bernardino divorce attorneys can help. Call today for a free consultation.


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